The newest effort from Canadian film collective Astron-6 – the masters of neo-schlock cinema north of the border – is a parody and love-letter to the Italian giallo thrillers of the 70’s and 80’s. Written, directed, produced by and starring Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy, The Editor tells the story of a once-prolific film editor Rey Ciso (Brooks) whose career was derailed following a horrific injury to his right hand. Forced to rely on a set of clunky prosthetic fingers and to work on trashy sex-and-blood pictures, Rey becomes the key suspect in a murder investigation by police inspector Peter Porfiry (Kennedy) when the cast and crew of his film start turning up dead.
In typical giallo fashion, the identity of the black-leather-glove-wearing killer remains a mystery until the bloody finale, with the entire supporting cast acting suspiciously while being eliminated one-by-one. Among the list of suspects is Astron’s Conor Sweeney as a hilariously egotistical actor, Paz de la Huerta as Rey’s abusive wife, Sheila Campbell as the blind wife of inspector Porfiry, and the great Udo Kier in a small role as Dr. Casini. The film plays into all of the genre’s key stylistic trademarks, offering copious amounts of sex and nudity, sloppy voice-dubbing, unexplained supernatural elements, a vibrant color palate, stunning visuals, and of course, a pulsing synth-heavy score, with a main theme composed by the great Claudio Simonetti of Goblin.
Those who are less familiar with the bizarre world of Italian horror cinema may feel left out of the joke, but the resulting film is so overflowing with style and ridiculous humor that it becomes contagious. Drawing heavily from classics like Suspiria, Tenebre, The House by the Cemetery and The Beyond – to the point of even repurposing many iconic shots or sequences directly – Brooks and Kennedy have crafted a film that both honors and dissects one of history’s most bizarrely entertaining film movements, embracing its unique Italian flavour while effectively translating it for a more modern, self-aware audience.
The Editor premiered to a packed crowd during Midnight Madness at TIFF this year, followed by a Q&A from the five members of Astron-6: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Jeremy Gillespie, and Steven Kostanski.
Stay tuned to Addicted in the coming days for my interview with directors Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy!